I arrived in the UK in 2007 along with my fiancé who became my husband in 2009. We decided to settle in Northern Ireland for unknown reasons. We did not consider the terrible weather here, that’s for sure!
I instantly got a job as a classroom assistant in a local primary school (being a qualified teacher in Poland) and husband started working as a steel fabricator. Our life in NI was not easy at the very start. We had nobody there who could have introduced us to living in a foreign country. We could speak English ok but found it hard at first to understand people speaking with local “Norn Iron” accent.
Step by step, bit by bit, we have been building our wee family and the place which is normally called HOME. Now… ten years later… I can admit I have a wonderful husband, two fantastic daughters age 5 and 1, who were both born in NI. Myself and my husband still work for the same employers… I have got my teaching qualifications recognized by the General Teaching Council of N. Ireland and I am allowed to teach in primary schools. As I currently find myself to be working as EAL support, I do feel unsure about the future of my job… Although I can still work as a primary teacher or even completely change job sector after Brexit but… I love what I do atm.
Brexit did upset me personally; it just showed that immigrants are not really welcomed in the UK anymore. The truth is that after living here for the past ten years, I don’t really see myself as an immigrant anymore as I have become a part of a local community and have always felt really welcome and my work appreciated. It took a lot of effort and extremely hard work to achieve what I have at the moment. Even though I only have Polish passport (my children have Polish and Irish ones), I do not feel like going back to Poland. I just can’t imagine building my whole life from scratch again, especially now, when I have my two beautiful children and they would need to adjust to a totally different life in Poland. I just do not feel it would be fair on them… neither on us as the grownups and parents.
So we have decided to apply for Permanent Residency cards just to be sure about our right to stay. Here is our home, here feels like home for our whole family even though our relatives are so far away. We have never heard any negative word being said directly to us, as immigrants, or even about ‘the immigrants’ by the local people. Yes, there is good and bad as in every community… I do know that myself. Let’s hope for a long and good future for us in this country. Thanks for reading and good luck to all my lovely fellow immigrants.